If you could talk about a single topic all day, what would it be? Think carefully about that; it needs to be something you’re passionate about and you have strong opinions on. For example, you might set up a fashion blog or a blog about a sport you play. The beauty of blogging is that you are the one in control of the content. Even if you have a really obscure hobby, shout about it! You never know, someone out there might just find your posts useful.
Once you’ve settled on a subject, look around to see what other blogs are out there. See if you can network with those bloggers; share ideas, get involved in a debate. There’s also a chance for you to share blog posts to reach even more people and enhance your reputation.
Whilst I was writing ‘Heartbound’, I was constantly picturing what the front cover would look like. Your landing page (the first page that people see when they visit your site) is like your front cover; you need to make it stand out and give tantalising clues to what your blog is about, without giving too much away. Naturally, if your landing page doesn't engage your readers, they will most likely look elsewhere, in the same way people won’t buy a novel if the front cover is poorly made.
You don’t have to have much on your landing page; an image and a couple of paragraphs about who you are is more than enough. There are no hard and fast rules, just something that says a little about you as a person.
Once you’ve decided what you want to write about, organise your blog into pages. You can have as many as you wish, but don’t overdo it; you’ll most likely be writing your posts yourself, so don’t give yourself too much to do. Finding the right platform is also a must; I recommend Weebly or Wordpress as a starting block. They are relatively simple to use and you can structure your posts in a way that works best for you.
When I worked at iCov, this was vital. Each post needed to have a featured image, a picture that summarised what the post was about. This image was accompanied by the opening three lines of the article, which teased the reader into reading more. Of course, the article itself has to be well written; a good image doesn’t hide poor grammar!
Try to keep your posts to a reasonable length. At iCov, I advised the students to aim for around 250-500 words depending on the story. This tells the story in a descriptive way without bombarding the audience with facts. Don’t be afraid to use bullet points and numbers either; blog readers quite often want information quickly and easily.
The Internet is like a giant advertising board. In a matter of minutes, your message can reach people in Australia, America, Brazil, anywhere. And the best thing is social media is free!
Sync your Twitter and Facebook accounts to your blog. If you have 100 likes on your Facebook page, that’s 100 more people you’re connecting with. Setting up a dedicated page or Twitter account can give your blog its own identity, and can be helpful if you want to build your audience.
I’d also recommend leaving a contact form on your site. That way, if someone really enjoys what you’re writing, you can connect with them easily. Oh and pay attention to comments, even the nasty ones. Sometimes a negative review or comment can be just as helpful as someone saying you’re amazing!
Our time is precious to us. A lot of us work long hours or have a thousand commitments. Where do you fit blog writing into all of that?
Remember what I said about length? Keep it manageable; you don’t have to write an essay each time you log in. And remember, people might be visiting your blog because they want information quickly.
If you can, dedicate a couple of days each week to your blog. Or even when you get those eureka moments, whichever works best for you.